I finally got a chance to read Doc: A Memoir by Dwight Gooden and it took all of a day and a half last weekend. I really didn’t know what to expect when I got my copy, but I put aside any preconceptions and opened up my book on Saturday night… With a blank slate and an open mind I started off…
By the end of the third chapter Doc had it’s hook’s in me. It was 2:00 AM and as tired as I was, I needed to know what would happen next, so I kept forging ahead and learning things about this remarkable person that I had never known before. He took me with him down the road of his early success, and then suddenly I was right by his side as his life began to spiral completely out of control in a drug induced haze.
I kept stopping along the way, feeling as though I needed to step back and reflect upon what it must of been like for this kid with a heart of gold and a million dollar arm.
Dwight Gooden was an eighties teenager like myself, and everything he saw I remember seeing too. It was a crazy time. At almost every dark turn, he reminded me of the choices I too had to make. My best friend at the time, unfortunately made many of the same tragic mistakes that Doc did. The emotions from this book were raw and real.
Because I grew up idolizing Doc, every bizarre twist gave me pause to consider what was happening in a way I didn’t really understand at the time. Now I knew with perfect clarity how torturous and debilitating a disease like drug addiction could be. You’re living in a virtual nightmare with no apparent escape or hope.
It was getting late… I’ll finish this tomorrow, I decided… But before I nodded out I grabbed one of my prized Dwight Gooden treasures and held it. This was one of my favorites because when he signed it, he looked straight into my eyes and smiled at me. You know that smile. It was warm and genuine. I shook hands with him and went home with my prize.
The next morning, after banging out a couple of posts on my site, I glanced over to my living room table, grabbed the book again, and with a swig of my coffee I journeyed back to where I left off.
How much more of this life can he take? Especially now, when he had children of his own…
The more I delved deeper into his harrowing life, the more I kept thinking this book was not going to end well.
So many times, Doc thought he had finally defeated his addiction, but the demons kept raging back, and each time they were worse than before.
But like a downed prize fighter, Doc kept getting back up… He kept stepping back into the ring of life… I was both astonished at his resiliency and mesmerized by the way he opened himself up so honestly.
This book was an emotional roller-coaster for me because it took me through all those peaks of exalted success and those hard unimaginable falls where I thought, “there’s no way he’s coming back from this.”
But I was wrong.
If I had to pick one word to describe this book it would be “perseverance.’
You see, that’s what this book is all about… It’s a powerful tale of the human spirit and how one’s faith in a higher power and in one’s self, can ultimately be the one redeeming trait that can save you from the depths of tragedy and despair.
Wow… I teared up at the conclusion when a judge in New Jersey looked into Dwight’s eyes and saw a man who could inspire thousands if given, but one more chance to prove he could be the son, the father and the friend everyone hoped he could be. And in the end, Dwight Gooden triumphed over everything that had previously held him back. And that’s because he never gave up and because he never stopped believing.
This was a tremendous read…
— Mets Merized Online (@MetsMerized) June 17, 2013